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Restricting Calories? You Could Be Aging Slower

In a new study, researchers increased immune cells during aging, and calorie restriction favorably reversed the aging-disturbed immune ecosystem.

Is there a reason that mice who eat less age slower? Thanks to a recent study, scientists believe that the amount of food eaten could be directly tied to elongating human life. 

The most detailed work on aging and food done to date, researchers at the Salk Institute studied the effects of a calorie-restricted diet in rodents showcasing that cellular pathways (or cell changes) seem to slow on certain diets. The February 2020 study, published in the peer-review journal Cell, found that immune cells were increased during aging (including inflammation.)

Ever since past studies have shown that fasting can elevate the body’s metabolism, scientists at Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory have tried to illuminate the close ties between food and aging. Their research showed an interesting correlation between calorie restriction in mice and a slower aging process: calorie-restriction reversed aging within the cells.

Using computer modeling and artificial intelligence, the research team was able to forecast specific patterns that occurred in the cells of mice that initiated or decreased aging. The study found: 

“Computational prediction revealed that the abnormal cell-cell communication patterns observed during aging, including the excessive proinflammatory ligand-receptor interplay, were reversed by CR. Our work provides multi-tissue single-cell transcriptional landscapes associated with aging and CR in a mammal, enhances our understanding of the robustness of CR as a geroprotective intervention, and uncovers how metabolic intervention can act upon the immune system to modify the process of aging.”

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In short-hand: Immune cells were increased during aging, and CR favorably reversed the aging-disturbed immune ecosystem.

Highlights of the report include: 

  • The alleviation of age-related cells that encourage inflammation within the body’s tissue
  • A decrease in the cell’s aging process
  • Better genetic mapping and understanding how the cells react to calorie restriction

In speaking to ScienceDaily, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a senior author of the study  shared, “We already knew that calorie restriction increases life span, but now we’ve shown all the changes that occur at a single-cell level. This gives us targets that we may eventually be able to act on with drugs to treat aging in humans.” 

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Focused on utilizing the information to offer better health information and encourage new strategies to increase life span, the team is now looking to replicate the study in other animals. 

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